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Old 07-09-2006, 05:58 PM   #211
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Default Re: James News!

Here`s an article James` mum wrote. Great pictures

http://www.insidetennis.com/0706_blake.html
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The first thing that came to my mind is now I get to take my shirt off at Saddle Brook. I made a deal with Kevin O'Connor who runs the tennis program there, I saw Sampras come and practice there, Rios come and practice. They'd be practicing with their shirt off. It gets pretty hot in Tampa. Then myself or Mardy Fish go try to practice. No, no, no, you're not allowed. Other administrators come over and say you got to keep your shirt on. How come they can? If you get to top 10 in the world, then you're allowed to take your shirt off.
First practice back in Tampa, my shirt will be off. I'll be working on my tan.
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Old 07-11-2006, 05:51 PM   #212
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Default Re: James News!

We must stop the British from stealing our James away from us and trying to claim him as one of their own!!!

Another Wimbledon article but it's cute so I'm posting here in the news section. (plus, the photo is hot)

Quote:
Why we love tennis pro James Blake
By VICTORIA COREN
Daily Mail
26th June 2006

He's a Harvard graduate, an ex-model and Wimbledon's one to watch. VICTORIA COREN thinks the new tennis player on the block is ace.

No doubt you'll be sighing with relief today, as the football is finally diluted with some lovely tennis action. (One friend texted me: "I am actually giggling with delight.")

Perhaps you are already cranking up your Henmania, but beware! It's not cool to support Tim too vigorously this year.

Heart-throbs, like handbags, must be updated. Like all accessories, your favourite singers, sportsmen or film stars should keep up with the seasons.

A loud burst of Henmania is like a gipsy skirt or a Fendi baguette: something brought out from previous summers, which is starting to look a little tired.

Tim is comfortable, but he isn't daring. We will always be pleased to see him do well, but you need to freshen up the tennis season with a whole new interest. This summer, stylish women should be cheering for James Blake.

Why Blake? First, he's gorgeous. Second, he has an amazing life story. Third, he is practically British.

He grew up in America, but his mother comes from Banbury near Oxford. One British parent is surely enough to make him one of us?

No disrespect to Henman, but this country doesn't turn out the biggest crop of heroes. We'll take what we can get. If we can claim Greg Rusedski as our own, I say we can claim James Blake as well.

If you didn't see him in the final of this year's Stella Artois, his name may be entirely new.

I conducted a poll among my friends, texting them to ask "Who is James Blake?" and not one knew. Guesses included "A singer?", "A poet?" and "A Formula One driver?"

Stylish

One friend, who is congratulating herself on timing her maternity leave for the tennis, replied: "I don't know, I'll have to Google him. Hang on - ooh, hel-lo!'

Hel-lo, indeed. It is a normal first reaction. And this is what makes James Blake such a stylish person to support: if you start now, you will be among the first.

Being fashionable is all about setting the trend. But this is not just about looks. James Blake's life story is inspirational, and very modern. It is all about overcoming tragedy, putting faith in the power of positive thinking and willing yourself to succeed.

Blake, 26, began life with brains and beauty. But a back problem required him to wear a special brace throughout his teenage years.

This did not prevent him from winning a place at Harvard University and later landing a modelling contract - nor from discovering his great skill as a tennis player.

21st-century hero

He decided to commit himself to tennis after hearing the late Arthur Ashe (the legendary black Wimbledon champion who is his hero) speak. Blake soared up the rankings, capturing attention and winning the title Rookie Of The Year.

But disaster struck in May 2004, when he was practising for a tournament in Rome. Racing to return a drop-shot, he slammed into the steel net post and broke his neck. Six weeks into his recuperation, his father died of cancer.

With typical spirit, Blake described the accident as "the luckiest thing that ever happened to me".

He says: "Otherwise I would have been in Europe at that time. It ended up being the last six weeks of my father's life, and I got to spend a lot of time with him."

After recovering from his injury, James went straight back on to the court and made the quarterfinals of the US Open. He dedicated that success to his father.

In March, he became the first black male player since Ashe to reach the Top Ten in the world rankings.

Does this man not have everything required for a 21st-century hero?

He has the toughness and machismo to fight back from disaster to glory. He has the softness and humanity to express love for his parents, to win awards for sportsmanship and to donate a proportion of every prize to a children's hospital.

As if all that weren't enough, he has model looks, a Harvard brain and British blood.

And that's why the fashionable woman, casting around for a new Wimbledon icon, should settle on James Blake.

Be sure to get in first and practise shouting his name. No offence to Tim, but I, for one, hope this will be the year Henman Hill becomes Blake Mountain.
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"What kind of shape am I in now? Well round is a shape." said Roddick with a laugh. "I had a very detailed retirement plan, and I feel like I've met every aspect of it: a lot of golf, a lot of carbs, a lot of fried food, and some booze, occasionally — I've been completely committed ... The results have shown."


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Old 08-10-2006, 11:39 AM   #213
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Default Re: James News!

Bad day for both my tennis gods - both fell in 2nd Round in Toronto...
James upset by Gasquet
R Gasquet (FRA) d (5)J Blake (USA) 64 63
http://www.atptennis.com/1/en/newsandscores/scores/
It is a pity... very very... no any interest to follow scores...
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Old 08-15-2006, 06:32 AM   #214
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Default Re: James News!

James won his first match vs Santoro
Quote:
(6)J Blake (USA) d. F Santoro (FRA) 64 64
http://www.cincytennis.com/en/oncour...s_schedule.asp

So then he will play against J C Ferrero...
Another not easy match upcoming...
Draw
http://www.cincytennis.com/en/common/MDS_2006_men.asp

Good luck James!
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Old 08-23-2006, 10:13 AM   #215
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Default Re: James News!

Omg!
This is all over for James in NH already!
R Ramirez Hidalgo (ESP) d (1)J Blake (USA) 26 76(6) 76(4)

Won first set 6/2 but lost two tough sets on tiebreaks...
Strange... WTH is that R Ramirez Hidalgo (ESP)?
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Old 09-02-2006, 06:22 PM   #216
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Default Re: James News!

James in third round of USOpen!
He will battle vs OMG Carlos Moya!!!

WOW!! That would a war!!!
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Old 09-08-2006, 10:33 PM   #217
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Default Re: James News!

Have any of you seen James' Evian water ads on the New York Times website? (www.nytimes.com) It's usually on the front page. If you click on it it'll take you to this site which has videos of James on it:

http://www.evian.com/us/jamesblake/

I'm disappointed that we have not seen any TV ads for this.
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"What kind of shape am I in now? Well round is a shape." said Roddick with a laugh. "I had a very detailed retirement plan, and I feel like I've met every aspect of it: a lot of golf, a lot of carbs, a lot of fried food, and some booze, occasionally — I've been completely committed ... The results have shown."


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Old 09-16-2006, 04:34 AM   #218
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Default Re: James News!

The Tennis Week Interview: James Blake

Photo By Susan Mullane By Scoop Malinowski
09/16/2006

James Blake took a break from his Davis Cup preparations to Detox in New York City last night. The two-time U.S. Open quarterfinalist took time out from a week of training on the clay courts of Saddlebrook near his Tampa home to fly up to New York City yesterday and host a jam-packed Evian Detox Spa party staged in midtown Manhattan.

The Yonkers, N.Y. native signed on as Evian brand ambassador prior to the start of the U.S. Open and Evian celebrated Blake's success in reaching his second straight U.S. Open quarterfinal with last night's post Open bash at the Evian Detox Spa which opened up on 521 5th avenue last week. Musical entertainment was provided by DJ Kid Millionaire aka Steve Aoki.

The Evian Detox Spa is a pop-up spa that is only open for the month of September and is offering complimentary spa services to VIPs (the spa treatments include reflexology, massage, and facial, and all treatments incorporate Evian water). Walk-ins are welcome to stop by the spa and they will receive a complimentary Evian massage.

The eighth-ranked Blake might consider indulging in spa treatment for himself before boarding a flight to Moscow to join U.S. Open runner-up Andy Roddick and reigning Wimbledon and Australian Open champions Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan on the American Davis Cup team that will take on a tough Russian team consisting of former World No. 1 Marat Safin, U.S. Open and Roland Garros semifinalist Nikolay Davydenko, U.S. Open semifinalist and Davis Cup hero Mikhaily Youzhny and Dmitry Tursunov in the Davis Cup semifinals, which start next Friday on the red clay of Olympic Stadium. The winner of the Russia-USA tie will take on either Argentina or Australia in the December 1-3 Davis Cup final.

Blake took a time out from the party to discuss his performance at the Open and his preparations for Davis Cup.

Tennis Week: When you were leaving the U.S. Open grounds, carrying your bags after cleaning out your locker, describe your mind set. You had a great tournament before the loss to Roger.

James Blake: Yeah, at that time I'm still thinking about things that could have been done differently. You know, hopin' I could have taken advantage of those set points I had in the first set, hopin' I could have taken advantage of that break point I had in the fourth set. But I always feel that way kinda right after a loss. That was tough. It usually ends up being a little better — actually I got drug-tested after the match, and then going to press — that actually ends up easing my pain, if you will, a little more. Because I get to put it in perspective a little more with the press. Seems like they tend to make it like the world is ending every time I lose. It helps me to take the pressure off actually when I talk to the press. Then leaving there I was with my buddy, Evan, I was with my coach, with my brother. The best thing for me, the best therapy is around them, is to act like it's not a big deal, that things are gonna be all right. Just talkin' about what's going on in their lives or whatever. So when you're going home or going to the hotel, it's not the only thing on your mind. The best thing for me is to think about what's going on in their lives. And realize the world is gonna go on, the sun's gonna come up tomorrow and everything's gonna be okay. So just being around them and thinking about other things is the best thing for me.

Tennis Week: Do you believe you can beat Federer?

James Blake: I do. A wise man, Todd Martin, told me, If you could win one set, you can win two. So I won one set, I know I can win two. If you win two, you can win three. I know it's possible. I had a chance in the first set too. So he doesn't seem insurmountable. But obviously I have to play a perfect match. He's definitely at a level above everyone else. I can't say that right now I can consistently beat him. But that doesn't mean that I can't on a given day, beat him. Every day I step on the court with him, I feel I can win. Unfortunately so far, every time I've stepped off the court I haven't beaten him. But there's definitely a possibility.

Tennis Week: Have you begun practicing on clay yet?

James Blake: Yeah, since Monday I've been hitting on clay in Saddlebrook.

Tennis Week: Did you learn anything about yourself at the U.S. Open this year? About your game?

James Blake: Yeah, I learned that it's a lot different going in being a wild card as when you go in being the fifth seed. I can still perform well under any situation. And that's something I'm proud of. Obviously, like I said, totally different situation. I still played some of my best tennis — especially against (Tomas) Berdych — and dealing with people expecting you to win is very different than dealing with people who are kind of cheering for the underdog. And it's a great feeling both ways — to know that you have people cheering for you. And this year I'm proud that I got through with those kind of pressures. And it helps having Andy and Andre there to kind of teach me about that kind of stuff. But I learned I can play great tennis in any kind of situation. And I'm happy to be dealing with that kind of pressure.

Tennis Week: Did you hear the quote from Pete Sampras this week, "I haven't ruled out" a Wimbledon comeback?

James Blake: I haven't heard that. Actually I got a message from Pete the other day but he didn't mention anything about that. That would be interesting. That would be something where it would be similar to Andre, where every match people want to tune in — that's one you miss dinner for. You want to see Pete play. And we all miss him as part of the game. We're gonna miss Andre so much. Andre's done more I think than just about anyone for this game in terms of becoming a global superstar, and using that for good. Pete did all his talking with his racquet and having 14 Grand Slams is enough said. He doesn't even need to say anything else outside of that. He's the best player ever, right now, I think until Roger possibly goes past him. But he's got so much talent and ability and he seems like he knows how to play on grass. He'll be able to play on grass, I think, when he's 80 years old. It'll conjure up memories of that year he played when he was getting cortisone shots in his leg and not practicing on the days off. We were all cheering for him then and we'd still be cheering for him.

Tennis Week: When he sent the message, was he motivating you for the trip to Moscow at all?

James Blake: He was actually just telling me something he saw in my match with Roger. He helped me out. He just wanted to kind of throw in his two cents and his two cents is pretty valuable — when it's coming from a 14-time Grand Slam champion.

Tennis Week: Davydenko's playing in Beijing this week. He's playing, then he's gonna go straight to Moscow for the Davis Cup tie after the long run at the U.S. Open — would you be able to do that? Playing that much tennis and still be 100 percent fresh for Moscow?

James Blake: Nope. That's why I'm cheering for him to get to the finals [laughs]. Yeah, I wouldn't consider that as a schedule. My coach would kill me if I thought about doing that.

Tennis Week: Who are some of the famous people you've met from tennis?

James Blake: Oh wow. Well John Mayer I've known since I was in fifth grade. So I don't think of him as being that famous. I got to meet Greg Norman last week. I got to meet Rick Fox, LeBron James. Jerome Bettis. A bunch of athletes, not as many movie star types. Got to meet Jay-Z the other week. That was pretty fun. Joe Frazier — that was a big inspiration.

Tennis Week: And last one, do you think the Mets have a chance this year?

James Blake: I do think the Mets have a chance. The National League I'll admit is looking a little weaker than the American League right now. But all they have to do is win the the four-game series, if they get to the World Series against possibly a stronger team. But I like their chances.

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Old 09-19-2006, 09:15 PM   #219
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http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/200...urt/index.html
Quote:
Another King James?
Blake enjoying life as next big American tennis star

by Elizabeth Newman
Friday September 15, 2006

Don't look now, but James Blake is all smiles these days. Who could blame him? He has the looks, game and bank account of a classic champion. He's playing the best tennis of his life, winning a career-best three ATP titles this year, and he's currently ranked No. 8, becoming the first African-American male since Arthur Ashe to crack the men's top 10. In fact, over the past year he has slowly been laying his claim to the American men's tennis throne, and everyone is starting to take notice.

As he stood in the middle of a jam-packed, post-U.S. Open party thrown by Evian on Thursday night, the only care the tennis heartthrob seemed to have was deciding which leggy fashion model he would strike a pose with next. "Smile, James!" a rangy blonde beckoned as she cozied up to Blake for the cameras. And smile he did. Blake spent nearly three hours posing, chatting and networking with a hip crowd of devotees who were hankering to exalt his recent success. Yes, Blake is surely loving life right about now. He's at the top of his game and as a result his popularity and his corporate demand have skyrocketed.

Capitalizing on his surge up the tennis rankings, the 26-year-old signed a multi-year endorsement deal with Evian in July. Normally this would not be news among tennis stars, but for Blake, this is the start of something big -- the beginnings of becoming a superstar. America's other men's tennis star, Andy Roddick, already has endorsement deals with American Express, Rolex and Parlux among others. Yet this is Blake's first non-tennis sponsorship deal since making his debut in the top 10 early this year, and so far Evian is pulling out all the stops to market him as the next big thing.

"He has clearly turned the corner, establishing himself as a top-10 player. In the marketing world, it's given him a new level of credibility as a corporate spokesperson," said Blake's agent, Carlos Fleming.

For the first time in his career, Blake was the top American billed at this year's U.S. Open. On Day 4 of the tournament, ushers passed out James Blake hand fans from Evian to all entrants while Blake paraphernalia sold in record numbers at the concession stands.

"I guess it all started at the Open last year," said James. "That's where I got a lot of exposure with my win over [Rafael] Nadal and the great quarterfinal against [Andre] Agassi and the hype with the J Block and the T-shirts. Fans saw how hard I play and how much of a turnaround I made and they really appreciated."

Fans also got the first glimpse of Blake's personal life, when his then-girlfriend, model Jennifer Scholle, sat in his box at last year's Open. The pairing made news headlines and gossip blogs and got several mentions on ESPN's Pardon the Interruption. "That was pretty funny," said Blake. "I heard Tony Kornheiser took a liking to her. Who knew?"

The soiree Thursday night, held at the Evian Detox Spa in New York City, was an eclectic mix of the cosmopolitan party scene, most of whom had never before met the tennis star. High-heeled socialites, fresh from their stint at New York Fashion week, mingled with wannabe actors and suave corporate big wigs, all trying to get a piece of the James Blake pie. One Amazon beauty spilled her pink Evian Martini while trying to make a mad dash for Blake. Another ditched her Evian hand massage -- mid rubdown -- for a quick glimpse of the tennis star's backside as he sauntered through the crowd. One guy, dressed to the nines in a Gucci pinstriped suit, wondered aloud if James would be interested in playing a round of golf at his country club. (No word yet if Blake accepted his offer.) Everyone craved a moment with American tennis' next big thing, and on this night he was more than happy to oblige them.

After the gathering at the spa, Blake and his entourage packed into their black SUV and headed to the after-party at New York hot spot Stereo.

"Oh, my God, I have to go to the after-party!" screamed a blonde admirer. "He's so hot I'm going to try to follow him all night."

Such is life for James Blake these days. He has spent the past few weeks in New York both playing high-caliber tennis and living the high life. Days before his four-set quarterfinal loss to Roger Federer on center court at the Open, Blake and Roddick hit the red carpet for the MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall.

"A rock-star night on the town," is how Blake described it.

Following the awards show, the two headed to the 40/40 Club owned by music hip hop mogul Jay-Z to celebrate Beyoncé's birthday and album-release party.

"I'm just enjoying the moment. It's been a crazy ride the last year," Blake mused. "None of this fanfare seemed possible when I started the year out in 2005. Yeah, with the recent success you get pulled in a lot of directions to do different things, but I'm enjoying it."

Believe it or not, being James Blake hasn't always been this sexy. The dashing good looks, the champion's swagger, the weight of American tennis on his shoulders? All an afterthought in 2004 when a series of personal and professional tragedies nearly cost Blake his tennis career. He broke his neck after slamming into a net post during a practice session with fellow American Robby Ginepri. He lost his father, Thomas, to stomach cancer. He contracted a stress-related viral disease that left his vision impaired and half of his face paralyzed.

Now, nearly two years after "the worst year of his life," Blake is the It man in the tennis world and on the verge of being the next big thing in American sports.

Sure, one could argue that Blake has yet to do anything at the majors (has never reached a Grand Slam semi), and he's a dismal 2-12 combined against Roddick and Agassi, including 1-8 versus Roddick. But the scrappy kid from Yonkers, N.Y., has played the best tennis of any of the Americans all year, and it's starting to pay off. Simply put, life is pretty good for kid Blake right about now.
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"What kind of shape am I in now? Well round is a shape." said Roddick with a laugh. "I had a very detailed retirement plan, and I feel like I've met every aspect of it: a lot of golf, a lot of carbs, a lot of fried food, and some booze, occasionally — I've been completely committed ... The results have shown."


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Old 10-24-2006, 04:24 AM   #220
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Default Re: James News!

So.... James is gonna write a book...
------------------
The Book On Blake
By Tennis Week
10/23/2006

James Blake has been busy scripting the most successful season of his career in capturing five tournament titles through the first 10 months of the season and advancing to his second straight U.S. Open quarterfinal where he fell to defending champion Roger Federer in another highly-entertaining evening match.

The former Harvard all American will spend some of his offseason writing his first book for Regan Books, a division of Harper Collins.

Described as "an inspirational story" rather than an autobiography, the book will detail Blake's comeback from adversity during a physically and emotionally debilitating 2004 season in which Blake’s father, Tom, passed away just weeks after the former Harvard all American sustained the most serious injury of his career when he suffered a fractured vertebrae in his neck in a frightening collision with the net post on the red clay of Rome and was later stricken with a virus which diminished his sense of sight, taste and hearing and left his face partially paralyzed.

Blake has written for both the ATP's DEUCE magazine and the ATP web site, contributing a well-received blog in January.
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Old 10-26-2006, 11:40 AM   #221
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So.... James is gonna write a book...
------------------
The Book On Blake
By Tennis Week
10/23/2006

James Blake has been busy scripting the most successful season of his career in capturing five tournament titles through the first 10 months of the season and advancing to his second straight U.S. Open quarterfinal where he fell to defending champion Roger Federer in another highly-entertaining evening match.

The former Harvard all American will spend some of his offseason writing his first book for Regan Books, a division of Harper Collins.

Described as "an inspirational story" rather than an autobiography, the book will detail Blake's comeback from adversity during a physically and emotionally debilitating 2004 season in which Blake’s father, Tom, passed away just weeks after the former Harvard all American sustained the most serious injury of his career when he suffered a fractured vertebrae in his neck in a frightening collision with the net post on the red clay of Rome and was later stricken with a virus which diminished his sense of sight, taste and hearing and left his face partially paralyzed.

Blake has written for both the ATP's DEUCE magazine and the ATP web site, contributing a well-received blog in January.
Wooohoooo can't wait!!
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Old 10-26-2006, 04:05 PM   #222
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Blake is writing a book?!! I will be first in the queue to buy it
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Old 10-28-2006, 05:07 AM   #223
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Quote:
So.... James is gonna write a book...
------------------
The Book On Blake
By Tennis Week
10/23/2006

James Blake has been busy scripting the most successful season of his career in capturing five tournament titles through the first 10 months of the season and advancing to his second straight U.S. Open quarterfinal where he fell to defending champion Roger Federer in another highly-entertaining evening match.

The former Harvard all American will spend some of his offseason writing his first book for Regan Books, a division of Harper Collins.

Described as "an inspirational story" rather than an autobiography, the book will detail Blake's comeback from adversity during a physically and emotionally debilitating 2004 season in which Blake’s father, Tom, passed away just weeks after the former Harvard all American sustained the most serious injury of his career when he suffered a fractured vertebrae in his neck in a frightening collision with the net post on the red clay of Rome and was later stricken with a virus which diminished his sense of sight, taste and hearing and left his face partially paralyzed.

Blake has written for both the ATP's DEUCE magazine and the ATP web site, contributing a well-received blog in January.
Seems interesting .
Hope he is really writing one and that he can finish it, now that i heard this it would be a dissapointment if i can't read it
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Old 11-30-2006, 05:50 PM   #224
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I talked about a potential Blake-Roddick mini rivalry on my blog months ago but Peter Bodo gets allllll the credit. Boo.


From Friends to Foes?
James Blake and Andy Roddick have been buddies forever. It's not uncommon for the two Americans to spend quality time together, on and off the court. However, TENNIS.com's Peter Bodo believes a little animosity might just spark this budding rivalry.

Worldwide, Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal will undoubtedly be one of the principal storylines in tennis in 2007, but we're here to say that the tradition of myopic, soccer-hating, what's-tapas (?), apple-pie-grade American self-absorption is not just alive and well, but screaming for attention. To many of us benighted Yanks, another race for glory may be just as riveting: the budding rivalry between Andy Roddick and James Blake.

Who cares if, between them, they own just one Grand Slam title (the one Roddick earned at the U.S. Open in 2003), as opposed to Nadalerer's, oh, 11? You just couldn't script a more compelling storyline for a U.S. audience if you're looking to skim off the attention of folks who actually own the DVD of 61 (the TV movie about the friendship -- and rivalry -- of Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris).

Blake and Roddick have been buddies forever (in tennis, that's roughly 10 years), and the cement that firmed it up was their mutual support for the U.S. Davis Cup effort. There's nothing like a shared sense of mission to foster camaraderie, especially in underdog units. And these days, the old overdogs (U.S. and Australia) have little to crow about beyond the team spirit and solidarity they feel.

Blake pretty much put it into perspective in the course of his run to his title at the RCA Championships this summer: "Andy and I wanted to prove that U.S. tennis is back now," he said. "We're on our surface now and we want to do well going into the U.S. Open and hopefully for the rest of the year."

Ah, anybody remember Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe, or even Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, using the royal "we" in the heyday of their rivalry? In fact, Blake made that comment just weeks after he had derailed defending champ Andy Roddick in the semifinals at Queens -- where Roddick was hoping to win his fourth title in a row. After Blake waxed Roddick in his own house (on grass), the two players huddled in the locker room after the match and pored over the stat sheet. In the same situation, McEnroe would have surreptitiously put broken glass in Jimbo's loafers.

As it turned out, Blake was prescient. Both he and Roddick finished the year strong. Blake rose to another level as a player by the end of the year, as he finished runner-up to Roger Federer at the ATP Championships; Roddick found his game again under the tutelage of -- yep, Connors.

Heading into 2007, the roles of hunter and hunted are pretty clearly defined. Although Blake vaulted to No. 4 in the world on the strength of his year-end championships result, Roddick is the Big Dog: a former world No. 1, former Grand Slam titleholder (and multiple runner-up), and still a strong No. 6 despite his well-chronicled hardships this year.

Before 2006, Roddick had won all six of his matches with Blake, losing just one set (in their first meeting: Memphis, 2002). But Blake won their last two matches (Queens and Indy), five titles to Andy's one in 2006 and he's now ranked higher. Their won-lost for 2006 has a crazy symmetry: Blake (59-25) won 10 more matches than Andy (49-20), but he also had five more losses. The upshot: Blake's winning percentage was 70.23, Roddick's 71.01.

So the table is set. The wild card may be Jimbo, Roddick's coach and once the Dark Prince of Rivalry. Would he be better off if Jimbo found a way to inject Andy with a little of his own, former, trademark animosity -- the kind of hate he got on for rivals, whether they were countrymen or Swedes or Czechs? Or do we prefer the feel-good option, in which two pals find themselves locked in mortal combat for the bragging rights to the nation?

Whichever way the story develops, it will be a subplot that could take over the storyline in the event that Federer falters, and Nadal fails to unlock the mysteries of hard and fast courts.
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File Type: jpg blakevsroddick.jpg (163.3 KB, 3 views)
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"What kind of shape am I in now? Well round is a shape." said Roddick with a laugh. "I had a very detailed retirement plan, and I feel like I've met every aspect of it: a lot of golf, a lot of carbs, a lot of fried food, and some booze, occasionally — I've been completely committed ... The results have shown."


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Old 11-30-2006, 09:40 PM   #225
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Steve Tignor chimes in on his thoughts about James' prospects for 2007

Why Blake's latest loss will help him in '07
by: Stephen Tignor , TENNIS.com
posted: Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The first time I saw James Blake, he was getting blitzed. On a tennis court, that is. It was the opening round of the 1999 U.S. Open, and there was a lot of "next American hope" buzz surrounding the skinny kid from Harvard. But it died down in a hurry that afternoon at Flushing Meadows, as Blake was run ragged by journeyman Chris "Country" Woodruff, 6-2, 6-2, 6-1. It looked like Blake was another solid college player who wasn't physical enough to hang with the big boys.

The last time I saw James Blake was three days ago, and he was getting blitzed again. But it wasn't Country Woodruff on the other side of the net, and it wasn't a first-round match. It was Roger Federer who was running Blake ragged in the final of the ATP's year-end championships, the Masters Cup. The tournament takes the world's top eight players and pits them in a week of round-robin play; the winner walks away with the biggest paycheck in the sport, $1.5 mil. Blake, who had never been close to making it into the event before (he finished 2005 ranked No. 24), slid through at No. 8, then played two of the best matches of his life to beat Rafael Nadal and David Nalbandian and become the surprise finalist.

It's official: A month before his 27th birthday, James Blake has proved he can hang with the big boys. So why didn't he look like he believed it on Sunday? Federer came out on fire, and Blake had no response other than a hung head and a lot of misfired ground strokes. Always the gentleman, Blake had this to say about the man who tuned him up: "I'm honored to be considered one of his colleagues. It's so great watching him play." Honest words, but not those of someone who believed he was going to win.

No matter how high Blake climbs, there will be doubts about his killer instinct. Yes, he's a nice guy from Connecticut, so level-headed he forgave Lleyton Hewitt's racially tinged remarks during their 2001 U.S. Open match because they were uttered "in the heat of battle." But killer instinct isn't the point with Blake. If anything, his career shows that it may be an overrated quality in athletes. With Blake, what counts is self-belief, something he's struggled with from the beginning.

At first, Blake wasn't sure he could be a pro. Who goes to Harvard if their goal in life is to win Wimbledon? When he first made the top 25 in 2003, he didn't take the next step and "learn how to stay on top," he said. After his well-chronicled troubles of 2004, Blake came back even stronger and reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open. But when he got there, he gave away a two-set lead and lost a classic to his idol, Andre Agassi.

This time, Blake learned how to stay on top and, more important, to believe that that's where he belongs. In 2006, he crossed a mental hurdle by beating Andy Roddick for the first time in nine tries and becoming the top-ranked American.

He may also have become the latest bloomer in tennis history. At 27, Bjorn Borg was retired and John McEnroe's major titles were in the rearview mirror. Blake's ridiculous athleticism -- he can simply do things on a court no one else can do -- seems to be overriding the aging process so far. Will it last long enough for Blake to pass the final frontier in 2007 and win a Grand Slam? He's proved us, and himself, wrong so many times before that you have to like his chances. This loss to Federer, like his loss to Agassi at the Open last year, may actually help. After his long career climb, he now sees what the mountaintop looks like, and that it's not as far away as he thought.
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"What kind of shape am I in now? Well round is a shape." said Roddick with a laugh. "I had a very detailed retirement plan, and I feel like I've met every aspect of it: a lot of golf, a lot of carbs, a lot of fried food, and some booze, occasionally — I've been completely committed ... The results have shown."


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